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Becoming who we might be - HOMEWORD

Memories flood over me at the oddest moments, and I know you experience that same phenomena. Present tense happenings

trigger past tense episodes, and the two very different experiences weave into a commonality that is awesome. Over the past few weeks, I have met and interviewed some terrific and inspiring

young ladies, Kaylin and Rose and Hayli and Lynlee. Listening to their parents’ pride and reminiscences and, yes, moments of heartbreak, I moved in my mind to my own experiences

as a father of daughters.

I love my three daughters. It was instantaneous. From the moment I set my gaze on them, my heart grew and beat stronger just because they were now part of my life.

I was all in with these little women, spending time with them—reading, drawing puppy dogs and butterflies, climbing my adult-size body on child-size monkey bars. We sang songs—Pat-a-Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider, then Avril and Celine, then band songs; it wasn’t until their late teens that I lost track of their musical interests.

I knew all the princesses’ names, knew Ken’s place in

Barbie’s world, knew the colors of all the Care Bears, as well as the newest version of Polly Pockets coming to stores faster than they could add them to wishlists.

We shared interests. From age four, Jenny wore her tool belt with tools like mine—hammer, screwdriver, pliers; her tools said something of her can-do attitude, ready to accept any challenge. Mary’s fascination with her never-ending supply of Hot Wheels cars, fueled by me and mirrored my own, evident in my stash upstairs, c. 1960s, priceless to both of us. I treasured each new piece of Amie’s art gleaned from school days and college years, and her portfolio of work reminds me of my own files from bygone student days; I valued every glimpse of her artistic side. They were always their own people, and yet spirit with spirit, heart to heart could meet, mine to each of theirs.

It was so much easier when my children were young. I could always send sisters to their rooms to stop an argument. A hurt—scraped knee or bruised heart—could be made better with rocking together in the recliner or escaping to the ice cream shop. Life was simpler. Then the troubles grew bigger. Crushing loneliness in out-of-town places, a horrific car crash, the death of a beloved best friend. Standing with them, literally or figuratively as the case dictated, became my only recourse, and I longed for the days when I could fix what was not right.

In a recent chat, thirteen-year-old Kaylin shared a “crumpled paper” story. She told me that as much as we try to smooth the creases from a balled-up piece of paper, the evidence of its scars never quite go away.

We can bury the crumpled paper amongst other sheets so it is not visible to others, but the page retains the effects of what happened in the past. This is the way things are, she told me. But the lack of smoothness has nothing to do with the purpose of the paper nor its ability to be all that a sheet of paper needs to be. She looked steadily at me after sharing her analogy—hopeful, even insistent, that I understand her message.

You and I live transient lives. We savor the ups, and we weather the downs. We stick with those who assure us that they care, show us their love, provide their presence through it all. We move from who we were into who we are and finally push the limits to become who we might be—hopefully, our best version.

I can attest to life’s trials and tribulations. As a man of faith, I can testify to the rest of the story, too. In John’s gospel, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (16:33). This is the Word of God for the people of God. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Written by Jim Edminson, Editor of Charity & Children

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